Good morning Super Bowl junkies,
I'm Jeanine Poggi, Ad Age's senior editor, here with the latest (but not last) edition of our Super Bowl Alert. It's finally here – all the suspense, anticipation and excitement – oh yeah, and there's a football game on tonight too.
As we head into kickoff here are some stats and trends worth noting.
There are 11 first-time Super Bowl advertisers that we know of, up from just five newcomers last year. The brands advertising for the first time include PepsiCo's Bubly, Kraft's Devour, Expensify, and Procter & Gamble's Olay.
We took a look at the efforts being made by marketers to make Super Bowl ads more inclusive to the very large population of female viewers. As it stands, out of the 35 celebrities set to appear in Super Bowl ads 13 are women compared with 22 men. That's still a big gap, but last year it was 44 male celebs vs. 12 female. And of the ads pre-released, 37 feature men and 21 have women with speaking or featured roles. Last year only 13 women had featured or starring roles compared with about 50 men.
Super Bowl ads are more humorous and light-hearted this year, as marketers it seems don't want to go anywhere near politics or issues that could be viewed as controversial. While there are a few ads that have not been pre-released that will touch on more serious topics or cause a tear or two, of the 30 ads released thus far just four have a more serious tone or promote a social or cultural issue.
It seems artificial intelligence is the new celebrity with SimpliSafe, Michelob Ultra, TurboTax, Pringles, Sprint and of course Amazon's Alexa, all including or mentioning robots or smart devices in their Super Bowl ads.
Sit down with Serena
Ad Age got a behind-the-scenes look at how Bumble's first Super Bowl ad starring Serena Williams came together. The tennis superstar, who served as co-creator of the spot says: "I really wanted it to be authentic, I wanted it to be strong, and I wanted it to be cool. What better way to shake up then to have an all female ad, not only on camera but also behind the camera."
Late Friday and into the weekend a few marketers made some last minute Super Bowl ad buys: Wix.com will return with its fifth consecutive spot; Norwegian Cruise Lines will air its first Super Bowl spot since 1994; The Washington Post will air its first ad talking about the importance of journalism in America (it features narration from Tom Hanks); ADT will also air its first Super Bowl commercial, sparking a home securities war with SimpliSafe, which will also air its first Big Game ad. Mint Mobile is also a new Super Bowl entrant with a rather gross ad that talks about chunky milk.
WeatherTech added another 15-second spot to its ad buy. It had already announced it would air a 45-second commercial in the game. It will use the additional time to promote its new CupFone cell phone holder.
And Toyota upped its ad buy, adding another 60-second spot and sponsorship of the halftime report. The second ad, called "Wizard," is by Toyota agency-of-record Saatchi & Saatchi and will feature the all-new 2020 Toyota GR Supra, E.J. Schultz reports. The Japanese automaker is bringing the two-seat sports car back after a 21-year absence.
You can watch all the Super Bowl ads released so far here.
And for the most current look at all the marketers confirmed to air national spots in Super Bowl LIII check out our Super Bowl ad chart.
Follow us during the game
Ad Age has assembled a group of industry experts, along with our own editorial team, who will be live blogging the brand wins and losses as they occur. The blog will go live at 5:30 p.m. ET.
And follow @AdAge on Twitter starting at 6 p.m. where I will also be tweeting commentary, insights and analysis about all the commercials. Be sure to join the conversation!
You can also watch brands and agencies live tweet the Super Bowl here.